Zombieland isn’t exactly a movie that I feel inclined to wax philosophical about. I’m not going to write up a long winded review or anything. It doesn’t deserve my beautiful prose. I’m just goingto wing it, so here goes.
What do I love about zombie movies? It’s that sense that the entire world has collapsed into despair, that the human race must start all over again. I love zombie movies because I have a fantasy of leaving the asinine trappings of modern life. Who wants to punch in at work when you can be out shooting zombies and hacking your way through a supermarket? With 90% of the population dead or a part of the undead, you’re basically free to do whatever the fuck you want. See a nice shirt in that store? Just go grab it. Nobody’s gonna stop you. What about that awesome hat? Go for it. If you need food, you only have to find it. You don’t have to through the laborious process of working eighty hours in order to collect a paycheck, which you then have to deposit into your bank account, waiting another three days before it clears. Only then are you allowed to wait on a long line for a bus or in a stuffy subway station to get to the only Whole Foods near you. Then you get to put little boxes of food and drink into your shopping cart and push it all the way to the point of sale terminal where you get to swipe your debit card and punch in your PIN number, watching your bank account deplete slowly.In a zombie-infested alternate reality, you just trek your way to the thousands of abandoned delis and grocery stores scattered in your city or state. Every day is a new one, fresh and free, unencumbered by a job or a mortgage. There are no lines to wait on. Nobody’ll think less of you if you’re unshaven with dirty long hair. Plus, there’s the very obvious staple of a zombie movie: zombies. Tons of them. Lots of bloody guts and zombiesvomitingtheir own guts out onto the pavement. Stuff like that. Massive amounts of zombie that flood the streets, filling the entire frame. That sort of thing is exciting and scary.Zombieland doesn’t deliver on anything that’s fun about zombies. The plot is paper thin. It seemed to be more of a partial showcase for the list of 32 survival tips. Maybe somebody thought it would be fun to use cool diegetic kinematic type. It was some poor teenage kid’s idea of how things would turn out if he America was zombified. It was an excuse to have a hilarious but short lived role for Bill Murray. It was a lot of poorly executed ideas mish-mashed together. And ultimately, it was anything but substantial.
The movie doesn’t really engage the audience. As a popcorn flick, there’s not nearly enough action. As a serious zombie thriller, it certainly isn’t immersive enough. Zombieland is just a string of ideas that weren’t really thought out. The beginning was interesting because he had all these rules that was presented to us in a very visually interesting manner. You feel that it has potential: Woody Harrelson as a cowboy? C’mon, that’s golden: a modern cowboy kicking zombie ass. By the way, that little Western scene was no Ennio Morricone, I shot a better Western-wannabe in GTA IV, and that’s not a brag. Anyway, the surivival rules, the cowboy as a partner, the hunt for Twinkies, it could’ve been a great story. But then the movie got all confused with a poorly developed romantic story arc and the silly trip to a theme park.
Zombieland’s not lighthearted enough or clever enough like Shaun of the Dead, and it’s not serious or grim enough like 28 Days Later or the new Dawn of the Dead. There’s nothing compelling about Zombieland. Save your money for a copy of either of those aforementioned movies instead, you’ll have a much funner time.